Monday, October 12, 2015

As flood recedes, skinflint South Carolina faces huge infrastructure tab, limited federal aid

"COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — Long before the historic floods of the past week, crumbling roads, bridges and dams and aging drinking water systems plagued South Carolina — a poor state that didn't spend much on them in the first place and has been loath to raise taxes for upkeep. Now the state faces hundreds of millions if not billions of dollars' worth of additional bills to fix or replace key pieces of its devastated infrastructure."
Here we have before us the best evidence to date that the current rage for privatization of infrastructure is a terrible idea.  South Carolina has gone the full magilla with this approach and where has it left them?  

The Associated Press

Halloween yard displays go over the top

It's that time of year again, when people decorate their homes in traditional fashion with simulated bloody torture victims wrapped in plastic. Nothing says Halloween like somebody nailed to a cross upside down in the front yard, with syringes jabbed into his neck. At least, that's what some people think. And then the neighbors freak out. No doubt the HOAs will soon swing into action. Personally I generally settle for a few pumpkins, which makes me popular with the squirrels. 

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Private dams = bad infrastructure

The US media love to run any story from anti-government propagandists about anything a local government does wrong. But look how they ignore the failures of privatization. Most of the nation's dams are privately owned and many of them are supposed to be maintained by HOAs. Here's a rare story where, if you read down far enough, you can get to the point. Developers built thousands of dams, didn't build them right, and private associations have been maintaining them, with results that are not impressive, as evidence by recent events in South Carolina: "...while states might pay or contribute to the repairs of those dams that are publicly-owned, most dams in the country are privately owned, which puts the onus on private parties and associations."

Condo owners to dump Trump

Trust fund baby and pseudo-populist charlatan Donald Trump is involved in lots of condo deals. Some say that he is no longer a real estate developer in the true sense of the word, and hasn't been since the early 1990s. Now he makes big bucks renting his name for other people's projects, which leads lots of ignorant, gullible rubes to buy in (probably the same dunces who think he'd make a great president).  If things go south and the project never gets built out, and the lawsuits rain down, he just says he was only paid to put his name on the development and has no responsibility. Here's another lawsuit with some troubling allegations:

"The building's residents and condo owners had invested in the namesake, a 70-story waterfront tower along Panama Bay, on the strength of Trump's reputation. But during the four years that Trump Panama Condominium Management LLC had managed the property, Central America's largest building, a team installed by the Trump family was accused of running up more than $2 million in unauthorized debts, paying its executives undisclosed bonuses and withholding basic financial information from owners.
The Trumps had done all of this through fine-print chicanery, the board said. A clause in many residents' purchase agreements prevented them from voting against the Trump company's wishes. That allowed the Trumps to install their top employee as chairman and the residents' representative on the board — even though the Trumps' actual stake in the building's residential area was merely a storage closet on the 15th floor."